Rep. Cindy Burkett roughly calculated that would amount to around $40,000 per trooper per week, a figure which DPS Col. Steve McCraw did not dispute. He and the support staff with him attributed the cost to both the training expenses and the cost of equipping additional troopers with vehicles, weapons, computer equipment, etc.. He also noted that "lateral hires" would begin their service at a much higher pay grade than entry level troopers, substantially increasing the cost. The cost figures include troopers' pay and support through the end of the biennium in addition to their time in the academy.
McCraw mentioned again that local police and Sheriff's offices had expressed displeasure at DPS for poaching experienced officers, some of them less than cordially. DPS has only ever done a "lateral hire" cadet class once before and fewer than 30 troopers graduated. Regular entry-level cadet classes graduate more than 100 new troopers.
These new troopers are part of an expanded border security proposal unveiled in the House yesterday whose price tag will overshadow even the budget busting $815 million proposal in the Senate, likely approaching or exceeding a billion dollars. The House plan was unveiled yesterday when:
More than 30 House members, along with local officials from the border, stood up at a Capitol news conference behind what they cast as a bipartisan, wide-reaching and permanent solution to enhance safety along the border and throughout Texas.See MSM coverage from the press conference:
The push — outlined in three bills — would add state police to the border, use retired state troopers to assist police work, toughen penalties for smugglers, build southbound checkpoints and create a border prosecution unit, among other things.
- Dallas Morning News
- Texas Tribune
- Austin Statesman
- San Angelo Standard Times
- Houston Chronicle
- Associated Press
Just a quick thought re: The National Guard. As the Statesman reported, "The rough plan now, as outlined by Gov. Greg Abbott, is to keep the guardsmen there until the Department of Public Safety can hire more troopers and handle the operation on its own." But Col. McCraw today reiterated that it would take four years for DPS to fully hire, train and deploy 500 new troopers, in addition to filling the 243 trooper vacancies on the books right now. It seems incredible/irresponsible to imagine Texas would continue to deploy the National Guard for that long, but that's where the debate stands at the moment.
See recent, related Grits posts:
- DPS border 'surge' failed to reduce drug supplies, which increased
- DPS surge will take four years to staff; apprehension rate abysmal on border crossings
- Lies, damn lies and drug war statistics: DPS edition
- DPS border 'surge' compromised crime fighting in rest of state
- If Lege can pay $735 million for border boondoggle, why can't they scrounge $220 million from the couch cushions to abolish the Driver Responsibility surcharge?